Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Valerie Plame

The Vice President's Request

In February 2002, Plame later recalled, she was sitting at her desk at CIA headquarters, when one of her office mates ran up to her, breathless.

The co-worker had been sitting at her desk when her green phonethe secure line used by CIA agentsrang. Someone from the Office of the Vice President was on the line. They were following up an intelligence report that alleged that Iraq had sought yellowcake uranium from Niger in 1999. They wanted to know if this could be further substantiated, and if any such efforts had occurred since.

Plame was intrigued. Usually such a request went through different channelsand wasn't normally so direct, nor was it delivered to such a junior agent. The call caused quite a frenzy in the office.

As she was talking to her colleagues in the hallway about the unusual call, she recalled, one colleague suggested, "What about talking to Joe about it?"

It was a logical choice, as Wilson was an expert in African affairs, and had been sent in 1999 to look into uranium issues.

Sure, she said, she'd check with him and ask him to get in contact with the case team. Later that day, she sent an email to her boss.

"My husband has good relations with both the PM and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."

That email would later become a liability, opening Plame to allegations of nepotism by defenders of the administration, although Plame's recommendation by itself was clearly insufficient authority to win her husband the assignment.

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